A bit saggy in the middle, but perfectly OK for signmaking and other woodwork. Will cut aluminium if you really insist on it .. but the chips go everywhere.
Here are some more photos showing the some more progress on the machine .. The first photo shows the backplate for the Z axis system and the shafts and linear bearings that will be used to mount it. The bearings are from INA again, and the shafts are 20mm OD. The crate you can see is a test rack for the stepper drivers .. you can see two of the 6 amp bipolar drivers in the rack .. the large toroidal transformer at the base of the rack provides the 70V bulk supply for the drives and the rather dangerous looking blue block on the bench is the transformer for the +15V. The monitor and keyboard are for the controller PC. Its only a slow old 486 but it is more than adequate for a simple task like this.
The next 2 photos show the Z axis system a little further on. The router has been mounted on the Z axis carriage assembly and the whole Z axis has been stiffened up with some steel supports. The supports are the black painted diagonal strips. The rods on which the carriage runs are clearly visible sticking up at the top of the photo. The rods slide up and down with the carriage and the linear bearings are attached to the back plate. Notice how it is very strongly built. I have probably over specified some components, and could have built it cheaper etc. BUT this is intended to do LOTS of serious work, producing 3D carved wooden signs. It is designed to last!
And below is a view from the other side. Note the flexible conduit snake that is used to carry the wiring to the carriage assembly (the black object near the back of the carriage with the red wires coming out of the end. The wiring is ultra flexible 20 Amp cable for the stepper motor feeds. The flexible conduit is wonderful stuff .. rather like an articulated plastic snake.
I have now progressed some more since these photos were taken. I have installed a 12mm ballscreww to drive the Z axis and actually produced some objects from the machine!! .. it is amazingly accurate and amazingly powerful. I have produced some simple 3D signs carved out of Oak and Pine, and even tried some simple milling on a piece of aluminium. I hope to add a few more shots of the completed Z axis drive system very soon. Currently working on dust extraction, and keeping dust out of the ballscrews. I am also looking into a automatic lube system for the roller nuts and possibly the linear bearings .. (although these claim to be sealed for life (ha!)